Nothing’s quite as universally fitting as a wad of cash, but all too often, it goes toward tuition bills, books or gas money — necessities, but maybe not the celebratory gift you had in mind. Whether your special someone is graduating high school or college, these gifts are sure to impress. (Although let’s be real here: there’s nothing wrong with throwing in a gift receipt. That’s just good form.)
- USB Utility Charger, $25; Fred Flare — It’s the Swiss Army knife of chargers! No matter what gadget you’re dealing with, you’ll be able to bring it back to life pronto, which is perfect for that moment when your thesis paper, resume or party photos are trapped on someone else’s laptop/camera/phone. Or when your couch-surfing bestie realizes she left her charger back home.
- Heated Blanket, $37; Amazon — This gift may not make sense during a sweltering summer grad party, but the first night spent in a drafty first apartment or dorm room will have your grad SINGING its praises. Really, this is more than a gift. This is survival 101.
- Shower Squids, $35; Uncommon Goods — Chortle all you want, but this little guy will transform people’s bathing experiences. No lie. Face the facts: A shower caddy is pretty much a must-have for any dorm room, and even if you don’t have to tote one to your bathroom, you’ll still need a place to store all your hygienic essentials. Pass the soap, Squidward.
- Society6 Gift Card, $25+ — We’re not even going to suggest you pick out a piece of art for the grad’s naked, naked walls. That’s too personal, even if Society6’s prints are so incredible that it’s hard to find one you won’t like (like the charming one pictured above, titled “Pour Deux”). Plus, half the fun of this gift is letting the recipient troll the site for hours on end, debating whether to go cool, geeky, hipster…or happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time.
- Threshold “Yum” Dessert Plates, $16 for four; Target — Yes, they’re technically dessert plates, but we say you can use them anytime. Plus, smaller plates can help you keep your portions under control (hasta la vista, Freshman 15 and Real World 20!). Plus, they’re so stinkin’ cute that you’ll actually want to show them off. And you deserve to eat meals that don’t come out of a pizza box or Tupperware bowls.